December What Ifs

  1. What if you were asked by a conservation committee to think of 20 new uses for a new pinecone.  Could you do it?  Brainstorm by yourself or with a group at least 20 ideas!
  2. What if you were hired by the Holiday Decoration Company to create a table centrepiece.  You were only allowed to use twigs and Styrofoam cups.  Make or illustrate and describe your creation.
  3. You were on the school holiday dance committee.  You were asked to create a new dance that all the students would be performing at the dance.  Describe and perform your new never before danced dance!  Don’t forget to name it and be ready to teach your class!
  4. You have been thinking about many different celebrations and holidays that you celebrate with your family!  What is valued in all of those celebrations!  Make a list, and then create your own celebration, name and describe it!
  5. You were hired by the Starry, Starry Night Astronomy Foundation to search for a new constellation.  You found one.  Draw the new constellation, name it, share where it is located in terms of other constellations and write a myth or story about why it is in the night sky.  
  6. You were celebrating winter by taking selfies in many different winter scenes!  You decided to upload them to your computer to find that you weren’t in any of the pictures!  Write a story, entitled, “There is Something Strange Happening this Winter!”
  7. You were chosen by your class to make a gift for you teacher or school principal.  What would you choose?  Describe or make it and write a letter to go with it that would explain why you chose this gift.
  8. Winter celebrations are very important to many cultures. Make a holiday chart with as many winter celebrations as the class can think of, including how it is celebrated, the importance of the traditions, games, recipes, etc.  Have the students write in their journals or have a discussion about why respect for each other’s beliefs is important.

Written by D. Wunder




Creative Sparks

creative-sparks-decemberSpark your students’ divergent, thinking skills with these openers….

December Creative Sparks

What Would You Do…

  1. if you were asked to be teacher for the day?
  2. during nutrition breaks if you had to be in a wheelchair for a year?
  3. if you were asked to create a new holiday to celebrate Charles Darwin?
  4. if you caught your Principal stealing from the school?
  5. if gender roles were reversed and you now were expected to act as the opposite sex?

What Would You Think…

  1. if your teacher insisted the world was flat?
  2. If your parents started acting like kids?
  3. if there were no genders?
  4. if New Year’s eve was no longer a holiday?
  5. if it stopped snowing in Canada in Winter?

What Would You Write…

  1. if you were to give your class an inspirational speech on any topic?
  2. as a poem to celebrate winter?
  3. about if the title of your story had to be, “When Bananas were Green”?
  4. in a letter to the monster under your bed?
  5. if you had to create a new birthday song?

What Would You Make…

  1. if all you had was left over wrapping paper and cardboard rolls?
  2. if you had to cook a 3-course meal (appetizer, main course & dessert) for your family?
  3. if you had to invent a brand new product to sell?
  4. for a bed if you were living in a forest?
  5. an outfit out of, if you could only use food waste?

What Would You Say…

  1. to Donald Trump or Justin Trudeau if they came to visit your class?
  2. to the person who bullied your mom/dad as children?
  3. to the new baby New Year?
  4. to a little kid who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus?
  5. to a snowman who is afraid of melting?

Adapted from Creative Starting Blocks by Monica A. Harris, Think & Discover by Menagerie Publishing, Inc.

Nobel Prizes: Lessons & Teachers Guide

The Teacher’s Guide is a step-by-step timetable for Nobel Prize Lessons – a set of six complete lesson packages, each one about a 2017 Nobel Prize.

A lesson package consists of three parts:

  • a slide show with a speaker’s manuscript for the teacher,
  • a text for the pupils including questions,
  • and this teacher’s guide.


Learn about Nobel Prizes in the field of:

  • physics,
  • chemistry,
  • physiology or medicine
  • literature
  • peace &
  • economics


Rethinking Giftedness: A YouCubed Video

I think this video is important to show to all “gifted” children and their guardians.

What does it mean to have that label? How can this label hold children back from growing and succeeding?

Find out here:

From YouCubed:

We decided to work with Citizen Film to make this short film after many years of my being a professor at Stanford and hearing from students about the labels they had received growing up. Many of the students had been labelled as “gifted” or “smart,” when they were in school, and these labels, intended to be positive, had given them learning challenges later in life. Most people realize that it is harmful to not be labelled as gifted when others are. The labelling of some students sends negative messages about potential, that are out of synch with important knowledge of neuroplasticity showing that everyone’s brains can grow and change. But few people realize that those labels are damaging for those who receive them too. At Stanford many students were labelled as gifted in Kindergarten or 1st grade and received special advantages from that point on, raising many questions about equity in schools. But labels and ideas of smartness and giftedness carry with them fixed ideas about ability, suggesting to students that they are born with a gift or a special brain. When students are led to believe they are gifted, or they have a “math brain” or they are “smart” and later struggle, that struggle is absolutely devastating. Students who grow up thinking that they have a special brain often drop out of STEM subjects when they struggle. At that time students start to believe they were not, after all, gifted, or that the gift has “run out” as one of the students in our film reflects.

Math – The Fractal Foundation Educator’s Guide

The Fractal Foundation

A fractal is a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems – the pictures of Chaos. Geometrically, they exist in between our familiar dimensions. Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals. For instance: trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes, etc. Abstract fractals – such as the Mandelbrot Set – can be generated by a computer calculating a simple equation over and over.

For a simple description of fractals, please download our “One Pager” (380Kb).

For more detailed info, please download our 20 page “Educators’ Guide” (7.5Mb).

Fractal Triangle – Fractal Foundation